Online Manual for the Forest Tree Seeds of Kerala

A Kerala Forest Department Funded Project

Dr. K Sudhakara
Professor & Head of the Department
Dept. of Silviculture & Agroforestry
College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur 680 656
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Scientific Name  Bambusa bambos (L.) Voss.
Vernacular name  Mullu mula, Illy (Malayalam); Mungil (Tamil); Kantabans (Hindi); Hebbiduru (Kannada) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Common name  Spiny bamboo (Chacko et al., 2002).
Synonyms  Arundo bambos L., Bambusa arundinacea (Retz.) Willd., Bambusa spinosa Roxb. (Chacko et al., 2002).
Family  Poaceae (Graminae).
Origin  Native to South and South-East Asia.
Distribution  Native to South and South-East Asia, widely cultivated throughout tropics. It is common in the homesteads of Kerala and other Southern States (Chacko et al., 2002).
Description  Closely packed, clums erect, reaching a height up to 30 m and 10 to 13 cm diameter (Chacko et al., 2002). A densely tufted bamboo with curving branches. Culms 15 to 25 m high, bright green; culm-sheaths 15 to 30 cm long, coriaceous, glabrous to pubescent with dark brown hairs, top rounded, margin plaited, blade up to 10 cm long, tip acute (Bose et al., 1998).
Flowering season  Flowering once in a life time.
Fruiting season  Fruiting once in a life time. March to May (Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowers  Inflorescence a large panicle, branchlets spicate with loose clusters of about five pale spikelets; spikelets lanceolate, acute or mucronate, many-nerved; stamens exserted, anthers yellow; ovary elliptic-oblong (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Caryopsis oblong, 4 to 8 mm long, grooved on one side (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruit type  Caryopsis.
Seeds  Caryopsis is oblong, fusiform, pale brown and always surrounded by persistent glumes and palea (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed length  7.2-8 mm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  1.5-2 mm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  37,000 to 85,000 seeds/kg (Kindt et al., 1997; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection  Seeds are collected by cleaning the ground, spreading a canvas or tarpaulin sheet beneath the flowered clump and sweeping the fallen seeds. Seeds are then cleaned by winnowing (Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Seeds collected in plastic / polythene / gunny bags and transported to the processing centre (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  Seeds are cleaned by winnowing and dried (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Orthodox (Kindt et al., 1997; Chacko et al., 2002). Seeds stored in airtight containers are generally viable for 12 months. Storage can be prolonged for about 2 to 3 years under low temperature and humidity (Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Seeds retain viability up to one year if stored in airtight tins and up to three to five years under desiccated condition (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  No information (Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed pre treatment  Cold water soaking for 24 hrs (Kindt,1997; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination type  Epigeal (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  90 to 95 (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination period  6 to 15 days (Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Seeds are sown directly in nursery bed during March to May and covered with soil. Partial shade is necessary for initial establishment of the seedlings. Seedlings are pricked out when they are 5 to 6 cm high, potted in polythene bags of size 22.5 cm x 17.5 cm and filled with three parts of forest top soil, one part sand and one part powdered farm yard manure. One-year-old polypotted seedlings are preferred for out-planting (Chacko et al., 2002).
Method of propagation 
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  No information (Chacko et al., 2002).
Diseases  Fungal and bacterial infections are common in bamboo seeds when they are on the plant and after seed fall, which reduces the amount of healthy seeds. Seeds are also attacked during storage. Bipolaris sp., Exserohilum sp., Fusarium pallidoseum, Drechslera and Phomopsis are important seed borne fungi causing infection to the seedlings. Fungicidal seed treatment with (Mancozeb, Hexathir WP, Vitavax 70 WP @ the 4 g / kg seeds) is suggested as control measure (Mohanan, 1997; Chacko et al., 2002).
Medicinal properties 
Uses  An excellent raw material for paper pulp and panal boards. Used as scaffoldings, rafters, thatches and roofs, for basket making, furniture, cooking utensils and fencing. Seeds and tender shoots are edible. Leaves are used as fodder.
Wood properties 
References  Get ...
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